Democrats have, for the first time, secured a Republican vote on their health care plan.
Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, announced Tuesday afternoon that she will vote in committee for a bill that would expand Medicaid coverage and provide subsidies for low-income earners to buy health insurance. The bill, which she helped draft, is set for a vote in a matter of hours and is expected to pass out of the Senate Finance Committee. Snowe, along with five other members of the panel, spent months drafting the bill, but her support was up in the air until now.
She warned that it did not guarantee that she will back the final product, which will be a combination of the Finance Committee bill and a much more liberal proposal drafted in the Senate health committee.
"My vote today is my vote today and it does not forecast what my vote will be tomorrow," Snowe said.
Snowe also demanded that a final bill be given a comprehensive price tag by the Congressional Budget Office and made available to the public before the Senate considers voting on it.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., agreed to that demand. "I think you are absolutely correct," Baucus said. "The American people deserve a score on the final bill before we proceed to vote for it."